I’ve never been good at strategy. Like, never. Strategy takes planning and a good idea of what your adversary might do. Which takes an understanding of the game — be it chess, war, life, or any other type of competition. I’m not very competitive, which makes me suck at strategy. I mean, in order to compete for something, you have to be aware of the mindset of the people you’re competing with. And because I’m not a competitive person, I don’t have that kind of mindset, so it’s difficult for me to understand who I’m “competing” with. That’s why I didn’t do well in the “rat race” we call the corporate work world here in the United States. Where the aim seems to be to rise as high in the ranks as quickly one can, and amass the most wealth, with the goal, so far as I can tell, being to retire as young as possible and live a nice life without worry. That’s my understanding of the rat race from an outsider’s point of view. Before I met my husband, I had no plans of retiring at all. Retirement was something only rich people did. Poor people like me… Well my vague plan (or strategy I guess) was to maybe settle down in a mobile home park (eventually), or move in with the kids (Hahahahahaha! Sorry, that was funny.), or shack up with some friends to save money. I knew that even after the age of retirement I’d still be working part time to compensate for the pittance from the government, and all the while I’d be working myself into an early grave. Honestly before I met my husband I didn’t see myself living past the age of 60, so I probably never would have reached the age of retirement anyway. But that’s neither here nor there.
Actually, I had a plan back then, to save up enough money to buy semi-decent RV (caravan, motorhome, whatever)… a smaller one, maybe a van, and hit the road. Do some workamping at the National Parks and stuff. Winter down South, and Summer up North, &c… But before I could do that, I was gonna use my shiney new degree to teach for a while. Keep my bills low and save up enough money to live on while in said RV so I could do the whole thing in relative comfort before worrying about where my next meal was coming from. I had this glimmer of an idea that I’d just wander around in my little vanagon or whatever and take odd jobs, as an aging hippy… with my cat. I wouldn’t need much, living in an RV so I wouldn’t need to work myself to death. Sure, it wasn’t a great plan, but it was my plan. 🙂 I told y’all I don’t do strategy well. Anyway, life has a way of coming around and changing plans. Which is why I’m not teaching, nor am I living in an RV. Not that I’m complaining. I’m very content with where I am… mostly because I love my husband and my furbabies. I didn’t plan for my body to quit working on me, and I certainly didn’t plan on my husband to pop up out of nowhere and melt my heart. The sneaky devil. But here we are.
Anyway, a strategist I am not. I tend to go in and wing it. It makes me either a brilliant game player or an awful one. Because some games require strategy to win, and others don’t. I suppose that every games requires some strategy, even if that strategy is to “bash everything in sight until you’re the last one standing” or something like that – a la video games. ^_^ But honestly I do try to think at least my current move out and do play within the rules of any game because bashing everything in sight will only get me so far — especially in this game called Life that we’re all in the midst of playing. And so long as that strategy doesn’t require me to think beyond the next, say two moves, I’m good. I remember playing chess once when I was about ten years old. I had my hand on one of the pieces and was about to move it and the person I was playing with — my stepdad’s father, I’ve long since forgotten his name — said, “Are you sure you want to move that there?”
I said, “Yes, because then I’ll get your piece.” I don’t remember the details, but this memory stuck with me because of what happened next.
He countered with, “Of course, but if you take that piece, then I’ll take your piece, then you will…” and he listed maybe ten other moves which ended up in me losing the game. He, of course, lost me two moves in. I couldn’t fathom how he knew all of that ahead of time. I remember feeling so lost looking at that chest board while he attempted to explain his logic, but I couldn’t see it. I mean, weren’t there other moves I could make which would allow me to win the game? Just by moving my one piece in such a manner, that would cause me to lose the game the entire game? That didn’t seem right. But no matter how I looked at the board, I couldn’t see what he saw. So I moved my piece and he was right, in about ten moves, I lost. And even as he pointed out my mistakes, I still couldn’t see it. And I’ve played chess many times since but I can never see the board how a strategist sees it. I see one, maybe two moves ahead, and that’s it. My mind isn’t built to plan that far ahead. I’d make an awful general I guess. I also stopped playing chess with people unless they’re as bad as I am at the game. ^_^ It’s just not fun when you’re playing with someone who’s good and you suck, you know?
Luckily, I don’t have the same outlook when it comes to going through life, because unlike chess, life doesn’t have a defined set of rules. Everyone can play by their own rules — to a point… I mean society has its rules and we all have to live within the rules of society. But there are no winners and/or losers of life. We’re all born kicking and screaming into this world and we’ll all leave with a stopped heart and a dead brain. Those are the two basic absolutes, we all are born and we will all die. What we do in between those times is just a matter of individual strategy I guess. Everyone makes the journey from cradle to grave differently. For me, it’s never been about amassing the most wealth or getting the best of everything because my brain doesn’t work that way. Does that mean I lose at life? Nah, because life isn’t about that, at least my life isn’t. I dunno. I’ve always just wanted to have enough… enough to have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food on the table, with a little extra to be comfortable. Golden plates are just… ostentatious.